Attorney General Andy Beshear is turning his attention towards setting up a new administration after vote totals showed him winning yesterday’s race for governor by more than 5,000 votes.
Incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin still hasn’t conceded the race. Last night he claimed, without evidence, that there were “irregularities” in the election that needed to be looked into.
Beshear has claimed victory and on Wednesday said that he is moving forward with the process of hiring officials for his administration and writing a budget proposal.
“Last night the election ended. It ended and it’s time to move forward with a smooth transition that we are here to do. So that we can do the people’s business,” Beshear said at a press conference at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.
Beshear tapped his top deputy in the attorney general’s office, J. Michael Brown, to head up his transition team as they begin the process of taking over Kentucky’s executive branch.
The Kentucky Constitution prescribes governors to be inaugurated on the fifth Tuesday after Election Day. Beshear’s inauguration should take place on December 10th.
But on Tuesday evening, Republican state Senate President Robert Stivers suggested that Bevin might formally contest the election, a process that would put the Republican-led legislature in charge of the final results.
Bevin has not responded to requests for comment or made any public statements since Tuesday night.
Beshear said he had no idea what “irregularities” Bevin was talking about and contrasted the vote totals with the 2015 Republican Primary election, which Bevin won by 83 votes.
“I don’t know what information he’s working off of, I know about 5,000 votes isn’t terribly close. Eighty-something votes was that primary four years ago. We’re confident in the outcome of the election, but today is about moving forward,” Beshear said.
Beshear gave some hints about what his administration might look like, saying that he would hire cabinet secretaries that are Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
Beshear also laid out his “day one” priorities, saying he would rescind Bevin’s proposal for Medicaid work requirements, replace members of the Kentucky Board of Education and issue an executive order restoring voting rights to about 140,000 people with non-violent felonies on their records.
One of Beshear’s first tasks in office would be to craft a budget proposal that would be considered by the Republican-led legislature.
“That budget’s going to be absolutely critical in its support of public education and health care,” Beshear said.
Throughout his campaign, Beshear made several costly proposals, including an across-the-board $2,000 raise for teachers. He said he would pay for it by legalizing and taxing casino gambling in the state, but Republican leaders of the legislature say they won’t consider the proposal.